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Conditions Associated With The Mouth

Causes Of Common Mouth Conditions

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The mouth is one of the most important parts of the body, playing a role in our vital functions, such as breathing, eating, speaking, and digesting food. Improper dental hygiene can lead to a number of problems, which can affect your ability to eat, drink, or even smile. Patients who experience any of the following common conditions associated with the mouth should contact their dentist in Gainesville, FL, with Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry for diagnosis and treatment. We offer a comprehensive selection of innovative and effective general dentistry services, each customized to the unique needs of our patients. Contact us today to learn more about our available dental treatments and to schedule a dentist appointment.


Most people will experience at least one, two, or more cavities at some point in their lives. Cavities and tooth decay are caused by food residue and plaque build-up on the teeth and gum line that produces acid, which destroys the tooth enamel, or the protective layer which covers our teeth. Without treatment, cavities can spread the infection to other parts of the mouth, possibly resulting in tooth loss and tooth abscesses.

In most cases, our dentists in Gainesville treat cavities with dental fillings, but extreme cases may necessitate the placement of a dental crown in the patient’s affected tooth. The most effective way to avoid cavities is by brushing and flossing daily, as well as by visiting your dentist at least twice each year for dental checkups and scheduled, professional cleanings. Contact us to schedule your appointment!

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease also referred to as gum disease, is caused by bacteria in the mouth that affect the health of the tissues and bones that support the teeth. Most gum disease is caused by plaque that accumulates on the teeth and leads to gingivitis. Left untreated, this can cause gums to recede from the teeth, resulting in further gum infection and even tooth loss. Signs of gum disease include sensitive or bleeding gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and receding gums.

Treatment for gum disease varies from patient to patient in order to accommodate each person’s specific oral health needs. In general, however, periodontal disease treatment can range from a simple change in lifestyle habits, such as engaging in proper dental care, to surgical treatment with tooth extraction. Patients who notice early warning signs of gum disease should contact their dentist for treatment before the condition becomes worse.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ disorder or TMD, refers to a problem in the jaw joint that generally develops over an extended period. It may be caused by an injury to the jaw, diseases that affect the muscles or joints, tooth grinding or clenching, or anxiety. Common symptoms of TMD include ear pain, headaches, facial pain, clicking or popping noises from the jaw, limited movement of the mouth, and tender or sore jaw muscles.

Regular appointments for general dentistry services from your dental health professional are necessary for our dentists to identify and address any precursors to TMD before the symptoms and disorder worsen. With proper oral hygiene and regular dentist appointments, patients can identify and treat common oral conditions before they become major, chronic problems that affect their daily lives. Contact us to learn more about our treatments.

Chipped Or Cracked Teeth

Chipped teeth are one of the most common types of dental injuries that can happen to almost anyone at any time and in any place. Eating hard foods, experiencing a traumatic accident, playing contact sports, or simply falling, tripping, or slipping, can all result in unsightly chipped teeth. Thankfully, most of the time, a chipped tooth can easily be fixed with a crown, veneer, or tooth-colored bonding. A cracked tooth may comprise a more serious condition, depending on the severity of the damage to the tooth and to any surrounding teeth.

If you have a cracked tooth, then your dentist may be able to save the tooth by performing a root canal and affixing a crown to fill the resulting hole. However, if the crack in the tooth runs beneath your visible gum line, you will most likely need to have the tooth removed. Tooth removal may be necessary in order to prevent infection and further damage to the tooth and to surrounding teeth. A knocked out or broken tooth may also occur due to oral trauma, tooth decay, or as a result of other factors.

Stained Teeth

Lifestyle habits and age are the most common factors in extrinsic tooth stains. Teeth stains, also referred to as stained teeth or tooth discoloration, appear on the surface of the tooth and can be caused by smoking, drinking coffee or tea, wine, or soda, among other causes. Stain particles, such as pigmented residue from food, drinks, or tobacco products, build up on the film of protein that covers each tooth, resulting in discoloration of the visible tooth. Regular dental cleanings are usually enough to remove most extrinsic tooth stains, though we also offer teeth whitening services for tougher stains.

Intrinsic teeth stains are stains that have accumulated in the tooth enamel and usually happen earlier in life. These stains can be tough to treat and sometimes require veneers. Age-related teeth staining results from both intrinsic tooth stains and extrinsic tooth discoloration. Our teeth naturally yellow over time and, as we age, the enamel covering each tooth thins, allowing the dentin to show through. This, combined with extrinsic causes of tooth discoloration, means that your teeth will likely stain as you age. Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry can help restore your smile for brighter, healthier, and whiter-looking teeth! Contact us today.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is the feeling that occurs when there is not enough saliva in your mouth. Every person experiences dry mouth once in a while, particularly if they become nervous, feel upset, or if they are under stress. If you have a dry mouth frequently, or if your mouth always feels dry, it can be an uncomfortable experience. Additionally, it can result in serious health and dental problems. Symptoms of dry mouth can include a dry, sticky feeling in the mouth; difficulties with chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking; a burning sensation in the mouth; a dry throat; a dry, rough-feeling tongue; the development of oral sores, such as canker sores; and mouth infection.

Unlike other age-related conditions that we commonly experience as we grow older, dry mouth is not a normal aspect of aging. Dry mouth can be caused by a wide range of different reasons. Some causes of dry mouth may include certain medications, radiation and chemotherapy, and nerve damage. Other conditions that can also result in a dry mouth include diseases of the salivary gland and diabetes. The treatment depends on the cause of the dry mouth. To help increase your saliva production, and to reduce the feeling of dryness in your mouth, you should drink water regularly, avoid consuming drinks with caffeine, and avoid tobacco and alcohol.

Bad Breath

Bad breath can occur for a wide range of reasons. You may develop bad breath if you do not brush and floss regularly. Foul odors that come from the mouth are produced by built-up bacteria in the mouth and in between the teeth and gums. Certain oral health conditions, such as gum disease, dry mouth, cavities, and oral decay may also cause bad breath. Additionally, conditions affecting the nose may likewise cause bad breath. You can also develop bad breath if you eat certain foods, such as raw garlic, onions, or cabbage, and if you use tobacco products. Taking some medications and having certain diseases can also cause bad breath.

Forming and practicing good dental hygiene habits, like brushing and flossing at least twice each day, can help fight bad breath. Along with having good dental hygiene practices while at home, another effective method of combatting bad breath is to visit your dentist regularly for twice-yearly checkups and dental cleanings. During your checkup, your dentist will observe your teeth, discuss any issues you may have, and work alongside you to determine your ideal course of treatment for a future filled with pleasant breath and optimal oral health. Contact Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry to schedule an appointment with our dentist.

Canker Sores

Mouth sores in and around the mouth can be painful and unsightly. Cold sores, caused by a viral infection, can appear around the mouth on the lips, under the nose, and on the chin. These are painful, fluid-filled blisters that usually appear in clusters and are highly infectious. Cold sores heal in a short time but may recur throughout a patient’s lifetime. Canker sores appear inside of the mouth, on the gums, cheeks, or skin covering other areas of the mouth. They can occur anywhere on the gums or the tongue, whether it’s on the tip of the tongue or on the roof of the mouth. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious.

There is no cure for canker sores, and the exact cause is unknown, but most canker sores heal on their own. Fatigue, stress, and illness can increase the risk of canker sores. Mouth sores can also be caused by irritants inside the mouth, such as loose braces wires, ill-fitting dentures, food residue caught in between the teeth or lodged in the gums, and broken teeth or fillings, among other causes. Patients should schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible after developing a mouth sore. Your Gainesville dentist can diagnose the cause of the sore and recommend the most effective course of treatment.

Oral Thrush

Candidiasis, also known as oral thrush or thrush, is a yeast infection that occurs in the mouth. Thrush is caused by the yeast Candida albicans, which is a fungus that can flourish when the immune system is suppressed, after a round of antibiotic treatment, or when there is a lack of the normal bacteria in the mouth. Candida albicans accumulate on the lining of the mouth. While this organism exists normally in the mouth, if it overgrows, it can cause symptoms to develop. Symptoms of oral thrush include painful white and red patches inside the mouth, which can interfere with the ability to taste.

Oral thrush causes the development of creamy, white lesions to form on the tongue or on the inner cheeks. In some cases, oral thrush may spread to the roof of the mouth, the gums, or the tonsils, or the back of the throat. Oral thrush can affect any individual at any stage of life, though it is most common in very old and very young patients because they have reduced immunity. It is also common among people with certain health conditions, such as diabetes or HIV,  patients who wear dentures, and patients taking certain medications. It can be treated by practicing good oral hygiene and taking antifungal medications.

Oral & Throat Cancer

Roughly 40,000 new cases of mouth and throat cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year. Because early stages of oral cancer don’t exhibit noticeable symptoms in most cases, regular dental checkups are the most effective way to detect oral and throat cancer. At every dental checkup in Gainesville, FL, your dental hygienist or dentist with conduct a visual scan for oral cancers. Signs of oral cancer may include a persistent sore or irritation in the mouth; red/white patches in the mouth; pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or lips; a lump, rough spot, or eroded area in the mouth; and difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking.

Mouth cancer is also known as oral cavity, while throat cancer may also be called oropharyngeal cancer. Signs of throat cancer may include the presence of a lump or growth in the throat or neck; a persistent cough or persistent sore throat; an earache; and difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking. There is no way to prevent the development of all oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers, but avoiding tobacco and alcohol, getting the HPV vaccine, limiting exposure to UV light, getting regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings, and maintaining good health can help reduce your risk of oral and throat cancers.


While discomfort may come in varying degrees, continuous tooth pain should be treated by a dental professional who can assess the cause of the pain and how best to treat it. Toothaches can occur for a variety of reasons such as an item or food residue becoming lodged in your gums, a cracked tooth, tooth decay, bacterial infection, damaged filling, and more. Common symptoms of a toothache may include throbbing, sharp, or constant pain; pain only present when biting down on the tooth; gum swelling around the area; fever; headache; drainage from the infected tooth; and foul-smelling breath or taste.

Tooth decay is the primary cause of toothaches for most children and adults. Sometimes, the cause of a toothache will remedy itself after a few days. If possible, it’s best to be gentle to the affected area and avoid eating foods or drinks that are crunchy, hard, sweet, or very hot or cold while the toothache is present. To treat the issue, you can rinse your mouth out with warm salt water, apply a cold compress, or take over-the-counter pain relievers. If you experience pain that persists for more than a couple of days, a fever, signs and symptoms of an infection, or trouble with breathing or swallowing, call your dentist immediately.

Impacted Teeth

Our teeth start to pass through our gums during infancy. This happens again when our permanent teeth replace our primary, or baby, teeth. If a tooth does not come in or emerges only partially, it is considered impacted. However, if the tooth doesn’t hurt and isn’t in a position to cause problems later down the line, a dentist may recommend leaving it alone. Wisdom teeth often become impacted and need to be removed through oral surgery, as leaving wisdom teeth alone can cause a variety of issues including cavities; gum disease (periodontal disease); trauma, decay, or damage to neighboring teeth; and oral infections or abscesses.

A tooth that is impacted can remain stuck within the gum tissue or bone for many reasons, including the overcrowding of the teeth, which leaves no room for the tooth inquisition to emerge from the gums. Teeth may fail to emerge if the jaw is too small to fit the wisdom teeth, or the teeth may become tilted, displaced, or twisted as they attempt to emerge, resulting in impacted teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth are very common and they may not cause issues. In some cases, however, they can cause a misaligned bite if left impacted. A partially emerged tooth can trap food debris and bacteria in the soft tissue around it, leading to inflammation and decay.

Sensitive Teeth

For individuals who have sensitive teeth, engaging in certain activities, such as brushing their teeth, eating, and drinking, can cause a sharp, temporary pain in the mouth. If your teeth are especially sensitive to cold foods or beverages to the point where it is uncomfortable or even painful, there may be underlying issues. Sensitive teeth typically result from worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots, among other causes. However, general tooth discomfort and pain can result from other factors, like a tooth cavity, a tooth that has cracked or chipped, a worn-out filling, a filling that is too large, or even gum-health issues, such as gum disease.

While a specialty toothpaste or strip may be enough to fix the issue, you should still see a dentist to rule out any other possibilities that may require more extensive treatment. This can include needing a filling, root canal, or gum treatment, depending on the source of the issue. Depending on your specific issue, your dentist may recommend using desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride treatments, desensitizing or bonding treatments, surgical gum grafts, or other treatments in order to reduce your discomfort as well as the degree of tooth sensitivity you experience. Avoid carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, and wine, as they can erode your enamel further.

Gapped Teeth

One gap between the teeth is known as diastema, while more than one gap in between the teeth is termed diastemata. Oftentimes, a gap forms between the teeth as a result of being born with a jaw that is too large in size for the teeth, or teeth that are too small to adequately fill out the jaw. A common cause of gaps in between the teeth is a discrepancy between the size of the teeth and jaw. Additional factors that can result in gaps between your teeth include sucking your thumb, having an overly large tongue, and health issues in your gums, such as gum disease. Some gaps and issues with tooth alignment are genetic in origin.

In some cases, gaps between the teeth can become larger over time, or they can get smaller. There isn’t always a medical reason to close tooth gaps. In some people, however, gaps between the teeth can cause speech issues and dental problems. Most often seen between the top two incisor teeth, a gap between the teeth is most often a cosmetic dentistry concern that can be fixed with veneers or bonding. Your dentist can help you determine if seeing an orthodontist for braces or getting invisible braces would help remedy the gap. Contact Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry for additional information.

Hyperdontia (Too Many Teeth)

Humans have two sets of natural teeth during their lifetime. As a child, most of us have 20 primary teeth, also known as baby teeth. Once our primary teeth fall out, 32 permanent, or adult, teeth replace them. While the vast majority of adults have 32 permanent teeth, people who have a condition known as hyperdontia may have a varying number of additional adult teeth. These extra teeth are sometimes called supernumerary teeth. These extra teeth can grow anywhere in the curved spaces where the teeth attach to the jaw or the dental arches. People with hyperdontia can have extra baby or adult teeth, but extra baby teeth are more common.

Hyperdontia is often seen in people who have other conditions, such as cleft palate, cleft lip, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Fabry disease, Cleidocranial dysplasia, and Gardner’s Syndrome.  Overcrowding of the teeth due to too many teeth can cause pain, damage other teeth, and make for crooked teeth. Hyperdontia is typically easy to diagnose through dental X-ray scans and physical observation. Treatment of hyperdontia is often simple, with just the removal of the extra teeth to address the resulting problems that affect the mouth, as well as orthodontic treatment (if needed) in order to address any bite and alignment issues.